Perspectives on Academic Procrastination

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Perspectives on Academic Procrastination T. Pratap#, S. S. Roy Burman# # Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur I. AIM TABLE I INTERVIEW SCHEDULE Procrastination of academic tasks is a commonly observed phenomenon amongst undergraduate students. There are various propositions to explain this procrastinatory behaviour amongst some students which in turn depend on the proponent’s perceptions of procrastination. Some of the proposed definitions of are: “the act of needlessly delaying tasks to the point of experiencing subjective discomfort” by Solomon and Rothblum (1984), “frequent failure at doing what ought to be done to reach goals” by Lay (1986) and “the desire to avoid an activity, the promise to get it late, and the use of excuse making to justify the delay and avoid blame” according to Ellis and Knaus (2002). Due to the differences in these definitions, the origins of procrastination are also differently understood. While Popoola (2005) considers procrastination a dispositional trait, Schouwenberg (1995) regards it as arising jointly from such personality traits and a general discounting mechanism (definition discussed in later sections) arising from social temptations. Similarly, reported rates of procrastination in college students also varies between 46% (Solomon and Rothblum, 1984) to 95% (Ellis and Knaus, 1977). Due to the disparity in the definitions available in existing literature, we opted to construct a definition of academic procrastination by asking the participants in the study about what they felt constituted academic procrastination. Based on the definition and constitution proposed, further questions were asked. The aim of such semi-structured interviews was to understand the common perception of what academic procrastination is and its various causes and affects spanning both personal and social contexts. Further we tried to gauge
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